Sep 1.jpgMartin's Private Bank

Many of Martins Bank’s  larger city centre branches are known to those who work there as “City Office”.  They offer the services of a branch, but they are, with the exception of Bristol City Office, housed in the same building as one of the District Offices.  Customers therefore benefit from the local decision making powers of the District Office, and are able to do their everyday banking in the same place.  Outside Liverpool, 68 Lombard Street London Office is the largest city branch, and on this page we look at the history of the building, and present our usual gallery of the faces of some of those who work there.  According to tradition, first a goldsmith's and then a banking business has been carried on - at the sign of the Grasshopper on this site -  since 1563.   The present building at 68 Lombard Street was built by Martins Bank in 1930, and it functions both as a City Office Branch and as the London District Office of the bank. 

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Image © Barclays Ref 0009/0617

1917 Letterhead

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1917 Martin’s Private Bank Letterhead

Thanks to S Mann

Image © Martins Bank Archive

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1917 Grasshopper

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Top: 1905 Martin’s Private Bank Logo from Cheque

Bottom: 1917 Grasshopper from Letterhead

Image © Martins Bank Archive

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In its role as the bank’s principal London Office, 68 Lombard is also home to a number of centralised departments, several of which are concerned with the Bank’s experiments with NEW TECHNOLOGY. Lombard Street is itself so narrow, that it is practically impossible to obtain a front view photograph of No 68. The photograph (right) which we took at sunset in the of Summer 2009, shows just how magnificent this building - which hasn’t been a bank since 1983 - still is…

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The site at 68 Lombard is so steeped in history, that in 1930 Martins Bank publishes a booklet whose main purpose is to explain just why the building has to be pulled down and rebuilt!  See also THE REBUILDING OF 68 LOMBARD ST. The booklet itself however serves also as a useful guide to the history of the site.  The text is reproduced below, along with some of the images that show the history of banking at the sign of the grasshopper, from its beginnings with Sir Thomas Gresham in 1563…

 

2009 68 Lombard 18 Image © Martins Bank Archive Collection – Julie Snowden 2009

1960 s 68 Lombard Street Ext BGA No Ref.jpg

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SOG Letter M PA.jpgARTINS BANK has been compelled by the needs of modern business to pull down a structure full of old associations, and covering the sites of many ancient houses, offices, and taverns, in order to erect a new building capable of meeting the demands of the present time. With the help of the Architect, Sir Herbert Baker, an attempt has been made to preserve the old traditions, in the belief that those who do business in the twentieth century at the sign of the Grasshopper will be interested in the past records of what may well be the oldest Banking House in the City of London.

 

SOG Discount Broker PA.jpgSOG Lombard PA.jpgLombard Street has been the financial centre of London from the earliest times, and is mentioned by name in a Charter of Edward II in 1319, confirming certain land "abutting on Lombard Street to the South and towards Cornhill on the North" for the Merchants of Florence. These Italian Merchants, or Lombards, were the chief rivals of the Jews in transacting the financial affairs of Europe, and the head of a Lombard wearing the traditional cap of his race is carved on the keystone of the centre window of the third floor.  Today Lombard Street denotes the London Money Market and a mythical figure of a Discount Broker is carved above the door in Change Alley East, with a classical inscription showing the respect of the Market for the Bank. By the reign of Henry VII this quarter was so well established as the meeting place of the principal merchants, that a proposal that they should move from Lombard Street to Leadenhall Street was negatived by the Common Council.

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A few years later Sir Richard Gresham tried to establish an Exchange in Lombard Street but it was left to his more celebrated son, Sir Thomas Gresham, to found the Royal Exchange on the North Side of Cornhill.

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SOG Medal of Richard Martin PA.jpgSOG Arms of Gresham PA.jpgSir Thomas Gresham, a Mercer and not a Gold­smith, was the trusted agent of Mary and Elizabeth in the low countries and has always been considered the first English Banker to understand the working of the Foreign Exchange. From him is derived the sign of the Grasshopper which hangs from the wall to this day. In the i6th century the houses in a street were distinguished by signs - the houses in Lombard Street were not numbered until 1770 – and Gresham used his family Crest to mark his residence in the City. The exact date of his acquiring this site is not certain

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The Entrance Hall

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Tradition has it that a Banking business has been carried on here since 1563, but we know that he lived here in 1560, for in April of that year he wrote to Cecil "I have commanded my factor Candellor to be with you by VI of the clocke in the morning every morning, for that I have no man ells to do my business and to keep Lombard Street." About this time the name of Martin first appears in the lists of prominent citizens of London. In 1558 Richard Martin was called to the livery of the Gold­smiths Company, and in 1588, the year of the Spanish Armada, he served as Lord Mayor and was knighted. He was also Master of the Mint from 1572 until his death in 1617, and without doubt he had frequent transactions with Gresham, thus beginning the association of the Martin family with the Grasshopper, which has continued to the present day.

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The Parlour

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Garraway’s Coffee House

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The Board Room

 

 

The Coats of Arms of the families of Gresham and Martin are carved above the two large windows in the Lombard Street facade. Owing to the destruction of almost all the Title Deeds of this part of the City in the Great Fire of 1666, and the loss of the remaining early records of the Bank in 1825 in the disastrous fire in the Royal Exchange, where they had been deposited for safety, it is difficult to trace accurately the occupation of the Grasshopper during the first half of the 17th Century. We know that Edward Backwell, a prominent Goldsmith, carried on his business at the Grasshopper and at the adjoining property, the Unicorn, from 1662 until 1672, when King Charles II laid hands on nearly £300,000 of Backwell's money, which with that of other Goldsmiths, had been deposited in the Exchequer.  Samuel Pepys, the Diarist, kept his account with Backwell, and it is probable that from 1672 until 1680, when he transferred his business to Mr. Richard Hoare of Fleet Street, he kept an account with Charles Duncombe, Backwell’s. successor, who appears to have had timely warning of the closing of the Exchequer. He had formerly been Backwell's apprentice and took over Backwell's lease of the Grasshopper and of the Unicorn, carrying on a Goldsmiths business in partnership with Richard Kent and later with his brother, Valentine. The Goldsmiths were by this time beginning to do a regular Banking business as we now understand it, and in a supplement to "The Little London Directory" published in 1677, there appears a list of "Goldsmiths that keep running cashes."

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Among these are mentioned " Charles Duncombe and Richard Kent, of the Grasshopper in Lombard Street." Pepys in his Diary has a few words to say of their transactions, complaining of " the Goldsmith's shops, where people are forced to pay 15 or sometimes 20 per cent, for their money, which is a most horrid shame, and that which must not be suffered." In this connection it is interesting to note that certain books of account, which in these days of machine accounting go by the prosaic name of Waste Books, were, until a very few years ago, known as the Goldsmiths Books. In 1686, the name of Richard Smythe appears as a partner of the Duncombes and Kent, and his portrait, attributed to Huyssmann, is hung over the fire-place in the Parlour. Before his death in 1699 Richard Smythe took into partnership a connection of his wife's, Andrew Stone, and also engaged as Clerk, Thomas Martin, who became a partner four years later.

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From this time until 1852, when Mr. George Stone left the firm, the business at the Grasshopper was mainly conducted by members of these two families, and the present Chairman of the London Board is a representative of the sixth genera­tion of the family whose name is preserved in the title of the Bank.  On the ceiling of the Parlour appear the Coats of Arms of Stone and Martin together with those of Gresham and Backwell, providing an interesting record of those who conducted their affairs in former centuries in the very place where the Managing Directors sit together to-day. On the cornice round the Banking Hall the old names mark the sites of the original buildings, which one by one have been added to the Bank during the last two hundred years.   The frieze above is decorated with the Coats of Arms of Trading and Livery Companies, with which those who carried on their business in these buildings were connected. On the Walls of the Entrance Hall are displayed the Fire Arms which were kept in the 18th century to protect the valuables of the Bank and its customers.  Today the Bank's reserve of Notes is kept in reinforced concrete Strong Rooms on the second and third floors below the ground. It is interesting to compare the old method of keeping the reserves of gold and silver shown in the folio wing Cash Statement of two hundred years ago. The "Little Iron Chest" mentioned is now to be seen in the Banking Hall.

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The firm of Stone and Martin in 1706 only rented the Grasshopper, which extended over little more than the present Parlour, and it was not until 1741 that James Martin purchased the freehold, together with that of the adjoining property, The Three Crossed Daggers. At the beginning of the 18th Century the space afforded by the Royal Exchange had become too limited to accommodate the men of business who frequented it, and Change Alley, with its numerous taverns and Coffee Houses, became the centre of the speculative activity which ended with the collapse of the South Sea Bubble in 1720.

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Bakers Chop House

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Thomas Garraway is said to have established here the first Tea House in London, and in Swift's poem " The South Sea Project" Garraways is referred to as the headquarters of the dealers and brokers who preyed upon the public. Defoe too, in 1722, speaks of Garraways as the haunt at Mid-day of people of quality who had business in the City. Later it became a noted Auction Room, before, in 1866 it was acquired by Messrs. Glyn & Company and finally in 1874 passed to Martin and Co. in exchange for The Plough, No. 67, Lombard Street, which had been bought by James Martin nearly a hundred years previously.

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68 Lombard Street before the 1930 rebuild

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In 1700 Garraways Coffee-House abutted west­wards on the Crown Alehouse, and beyond this, at the corner of Change Alley, stood the Exchange Tavern. To the south of these lay Bakers Chop House, formerly known as the Rummer Tavern. The freehold of all these properties was acquired by Martin and Co. in 1882 and 1884, but Bakers Chop House kept its identity until only ten years ago when the increase of business made it essential that this last survivor of many taverns should be thrown into the Offices of Martins Bank. 

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The Unicorn, which had parted company from the Grasshopper after the time of Backwell and Duncombe, changed hands on many occasions, but finally after a lapse of over two hundred years was bought by Martin and Co. in 1890. The other old Inn whose name is inscribed on the wall of the Banking Hall, is The White Horse, which after several changes of ownership is now occupied by Martins on a long lease from their neighbours, Lloyds Bank. 

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The changes and the steady growth of the premises are of little account when compared with the expansion of the business. The Goldsmiths shop developed into the private Banking Firm, and in 1890 this became Martin's Bank, Limited. In 1918 the name was changed again, the Bank of Liverpool and Martins being the title assumed on the amalgamation of Martins Bank with the Bank of Liverpool. The incorporation of the Lancashire and Yorkshire Bank in 1928 led to the shortening of this unwieldy title. In the Bank's Coat of Arms the Liver Bird representing Liverpool is associated with the Grasshopper, while the old historical traditions of Lombard Street are preserved in the name of Martins Bank.

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1924 Mr D O Maxwell MBM-Au46P05.jpg

1925 to 1933 Mr F O'M Waite MBM-Au69P56.jpg

1928 to 1947 E J A Salmon joined the bank here MBM-Su65P08.jpg

1931 to 1933 Mr S G Height MBM-Wi63P07.jpg

1944 to 1960 Mr A H C Pickering Accountant MBM-Sp60P45.jpg

1945 to 1946 Miss R W Everitt Cashier MBM-Sp47P25.jpg

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Mr D O Maxwell

On the Staff

1924

Mr F O’M Waite

On the Staff

1925 to 1933

Mr E J A Salmon

Joined the Bank Here

1928 to 1947

Mr S G Height

On the Staff

1931 to 1933

Mr A H C Pickering

Accountant

1944 to 1960

Miss R W Everitt

Cashier

1945 to 1946

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1945 to 1958 Mr W Kelly Assistant Manager MBM-Su58P53.jpg

1946 to 1962 Mr M C Thomas Pro Manager Securities Department MBM-Au62P55.jpg

1947 Mr D Cottingham MBM-Sp67P03.jpg

1949 to 1949 Mr J S Summerfield Manager MBM-Sp49P11.jpg

1949 Mr H A Bullough Manager MBM-Au49P16.jpg

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Mr W Kelly

Assistant Manager

1945 to 1958

Mr M C Thomas

Pro Manager

1946 to 1962

Mr E F Garrett

Securities

1946 to 1966

Mr D Cottingham

On the Staff

1947

 Mr J S Summerfield

Manager Spring

to Autumn 1949

Mr H A Bullough

Manager Autumn

1949 to 1963

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1949 to 1962 Mr B B Harrington joined the bank here MBM-Sp67P05.jpg

1950 to 1963 Mr F J Triptree Pro Manager MBM-Sp63P57.jpg

1954 Miss W M T Hill MBM-Au54P50.jpg

1958 to 1967 Mr G W Joiner Assistant Manager MBM-Wi67P55.jpg

1960 to 1961 Mr R P Gordon Assistant Manager MBM-Wi63P05.jpg

1962 to 1967 Mr L V Rorke Pro Manager MBM-Su67P53.jpg

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Mr B B Harrington

Joined the Bank Here

1949 to 1962

Mr F J Triptree

pro Manager

1950 to 1963

Miss W M T Hill

On the Staff

1954

Mr G W Joiner

Assistant AManager

1958 to 1967

Mr R P Gordon

Assistant Manager

1960 to 1961

Mr L V Rorke

Pro Manager

1962 to 1967

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1963 to 1968 Mr F L Flanaghan Manager MBM-Wi68P54.jpg

1964 Miss H E Weatherhead Manager's Secretary MBM-Sp64P39.jpg

1964 Mr J N Edgar Deputy Manager MBM-Sp64P05.jpg

1964 Mr JFO Burgess pro Manager MBM-Su64P07.jpg

1964 Mr JS Davies pro Manager MBM-Wi64P06.jpg

1965 AF Sharp Assistant Manager MBM-Su65P08.jpg

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Mr F L Flanaghan

Manager

1963 to 1967

Miss H E Weatherhead

Manager’s Secretary

1964

Mr J N Edgar

Deputy Manager

1964

Mr J F O Burgess

Pro Manager

1964

Mr J S Davies

Pro Manager

1964

Mr A F Sharp

Assistant Manager 1965

Deputy Manager 1969

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1965 Miss I Pedley Staff MBM-Su65P47.jpg

1965 Miss W Hillier Head Telephonist MBM-Au65P50.jpg

1965 Mr AV Langton Assistant Accountant MBM-Sp65P08.jpg

1965 Mr DJ Sims pro Manager MBM-Au65P05.jpg

1965 Mr MC Petitt pro Manager MBM-Au65P05.jpg

1966 Mr AJ Bannister Senior Cashier MBM-Au66P42.jpg

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Miss I Pedley

On the Staff

1965

Miss W Hillier

Head Telephonist

1965

Mr A V Langton

Assistant Accountant

1965

Mr D J Sims

Pro Manager1965

Asst Accountant 1966

Mr M C Petitt

Pro Manager

1965

Mr A J Bannister

Senior Cashier

1966

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1966 Mr EA Emerson pro Manager MBM-Wi66P04.jpg

1966 Mr ER Smith pro Manager MBM-Sp66P08.jpg

1966 Mr JRC Chapman pro Manager MBM-Wi66P04.jpg

1966 Mr S Brookes Assistant Manager MBM-Su66P03.jpg

1967 Mr AS Potts pro Manager MBM-Su67P05.jpg

1967 Mr FJ Blaker pro Manager MBM-Sp67P06.jpg

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Mr E A Emerson

Pro Manager

1966

Mr E R Smith

Pro Manager

1966

Mr J R C Chapman

Pro Manager

1966

Mr S  Brookes

Assistant Manager

1966

Mr A S Potts

Pro Manager

1967

Mr F J Blaker

Pro Manager

1967

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1967 Mr JH Trigg Head Messenger in London MBM-Wi67P39.jpg

1967 Mr PJ Hope Manager MBM-Wi67P02.jpg

1967 Mr SJ Smith pro Manager MBM-Wi67P02.jpg

1968 Mr SWP Barter Manager MBM-Wi68P06.jpg

1969 Mr A S McKintosh Pro Manager MBM-Sp69P11.jpg

1969 Mr C A Bamford Assistant Manager MBM-Su69P15.jpg

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Mr J H Trigg

Head Messenger

1967

Mr P J Hope

Manager

1967 to 1968

Mr S J Smith

Pro Manager

1967

Mr S W P Barter

Manager

1968 onwards

Mr A S McKintosh

Pro Manager

1969

Mr C A Bamford

Assistant Manager

1969

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1969 Mr P J Dew Pro Manager MBM-Sp69P08.jpg

BW Logo

BW Logo

BW Logo

BW Logo

BW Logo

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Mr P J Dew

Pro Manager

1969

 

 

 

 

 

Title:

Type:

Address:

Index No and District:

Hours:

 

Telephone:

Services:

Manager:

11-00-10 London 68 Lombard Street Office

Full Branch

68 lombard Street London EC3

401 London

Mon-Fri 1000-1500

Saturday 0900-1130

01-626-6568

Nightsafe Installed    Computerised Accounts

Mr S W P Barter Manager

age © Barclays

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Automated Branch68 Lombard Street is included in Martins’ London Account Number Allocation, where Branches due for automation are given “significant digits” to identify them at the London Computer Centre by account numbers issued. The account numbers at the Branch will be identified by the significant digits 05, 06 and 07 for CUSTOMERS and by 08 for STAFF, as in the case of our cheque shown above.

1563

 

pre 1918

18 December 1918

3 January 1928

15 December 1969

3 April 1981

2015

Thomas Gresham believed to have traded on the site and from

then onwards, Banking carried out here continuously

Martin’s Private Bank

Bank of Liverpool and Martins

Martins Bank Limited

Barclays Bank Limited 20-00-20 London 68 Lombard Street

Closed

Regus Ltd

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sp3

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